EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ -- Four days ago Geno Smith was asked by the New York Post if he'll be an elite quarterback. His answer: "Yes."
Though the rookie has a long, long way yet to go, he did lead the Jets to victory Sunday afternoon where New England's elite quarterback did not.
Smith completed 17-of-33 passes in New York's 30-27 overtime victory over Tom Brady and the Patriots. He threw one touchdown, and followed it up on the next drive by tossing a pick-six to a rookie cornerback.
Not the sexiest of stats.
But Brady's were worse. New England's signal caller went 22-of-46 for 228 yards. He threw zero touchdowns and one interception.
Did Smith take comfort in seeing one of the NFL's best quarterbacks struggle as he did?
"No," he stated. "Anyone who watches football knows that every single quarterback makes those mistakes and it hasn’t anything to do with age. I think at times it just happens and even the best do it. The key thing to being a good quarterback is to move on from it, to not let it affect your game play moving forward. I’m pretty sure Brady does that and I know I’ll always do the same thing. I think that’s what’s most important."
The rookie did move on.
Smith finished with six carries for 32 yards. Two of his runs were good for first downs, including a 14-yard scramble on a third quarter third-and-14 situation. Two plays later on the same drive, he ran 8 yards into the end zone to score New York's go-ahead touchdown.
The performance wasn't brilliant but it marked legitimate progress. Smith is still going through growing pains, still learning.
If nothing else, he is mature enough to be gracious.
"Tom Brady is one of the greatest quarterbacks to play this game and I’m a rookie quarterback in this league. So, the personal satisfaction for me is to get a victory for every single guy in that locker room and to be able to move on and put ourselves in a pretty good position moving forward."